Supporting the Highlanders and a slight roll of his Rs gives away Jason Paris' Southland roots, but he's come a long way since his days growing up in Invercargill and is facing new challenges in his latest role as chief executive of Spark's home, mobile and business division.
Paris says a love of technology has shaped his career.
"I was born in Invercargill, so all my mates are still builders and farmers and my mum's a meat inspector at Alliance Freezing Works and her partner is a crane driver at Tiwai but I've always been interested in technology," he says.
"I remember saving up to get the Commodore 64 from Smith City on layby when I was really young, so technology has always been one of the things that's interested me."
This interest led Paris to enrol in a degree at Otago University majoring in marketing and information science. During this time, he also held a part-time job with The Radio Network and six months into his degree he came home to find his boss sitting in his lounge.
"I came back to my student flat and my boss was there and he said, 'This is really left field but we've got this brand called ZM that we're going to be launching and you're young and up and coming and we thought it would be really interesting for someone like you to come and help us launch it in the Southland market'."
Paris called the careers advice centre at the university, "and she said, 'There's no money in computers, you should take the job', this was the 90s, and so I said okay, I trust you".
It was a piece of advice that inadvertently set him on a career path towards his dream job, although it still makes him laugh.
Paris helped set up the ZM radio station and brand in Southland before being head hunted as a sales and marketing manager in Wellington at telco Saturn Communications.
His job involved rolling out cable, but at that time none of the telco companies were bundling services together, he says.
"The first thing I did was come in and say we should be taking our TV product and our broadband product and our phone product and putting them together," he says. "And so we went into [the] market and just went nuts."
Saturn's offering was innovative and new, and sales grew rapidly.
In 2000, in Queenstown for New Year, Paris met his wife Rachel. She was in her first year at law firm Bell Gully and living in Auckland.
Paris' first present to her was a cellphone.
Three months later he moved to Auckland and the following year, after their wedding, they moved to London.
Paris had been working in management for McDonald's in Auckland and had the option to continue in a similar role.
But there were other opportunities - including Nokia.
Paris knew he wanted to be working at Telecom in New Zealand within 10 years and so he called their office.
"I didn't know anyone there so I googled the marketing manager at the time and it was Kevin Kenrick, who's CEO at TVNZ now, and so I called and got through to his secretary who for some reason put me through," he says.
"And I said, 'Gidday, you don't know me, I'm a New Zealander and this is the situation', and he was awesome."
Paris says he talked Kenrick through his options and at the end of their conversation, Paris says he decided to take the job at Nokia.
In 2006, after three and a half years in London, Paris was headhunted for TVNZ and returned home. Over his four years at the company, Paris and his team set up the On Demand service. Although well established today, Paris says this was one of his more trying times in business.
"At the time it was unbelievably tough," he says. "There were no models internationally to say how you should go - whether it was pay per view, or subscription or ad funded so we had to try all those models and build the platform and secure the rights and build the technology and convince people we could do it."
Paris says he is not interested in "technology for technology's sake" but rather how technology could help people, and having seen the customer trend towards wanting more control over what was watched and when, On Demand seemed logical.
In 2010, Paris jumped across to MediaWorks, taking up the role as its chief executive for a year and a half before he was offered the job of chief marketing officer at Spark - fulfilling his 10-year goal.
"It was a dream come true - I am genuinely in my dream job," he says. "It still feels like that after four years, and I'm really proud of everything we've achieved."
His new role as chief executive of Spark home, mobile and business will see an increase in his responsibilities and although nervous, Paris says he is looking forward to the challenge.
"I think a lot of it is luck but you make your own chances," Paris says. "I think you need to throw yourself into opportunities 150 per cent and you need to be really passionate about what you do."
He says sticking to his business advice of being authentic and always making the best call for the business has served him well, and although finding a good work-life balance was tough with his three young children, having a job he loved made it worthwhile.
• Born in Invercargill.
• Completed an executive strategy and management course at Harvard Business School.
• On the board of Make-A-Wish foundation from 2011-2015.
• Previous chief executive at MediaWorks.
• Appointed chief executive of Spark home, mobile and business this week.